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The Secret ‘Backbone’ of the U.S. Embassy in Delhi, India

Historically, Foreign Service Nationals (FSNs) have been working behind the scenes and supporting foreign service personnel who often serve in public-facing roles. They are therefore commonly called the “backbone” of the embassies, and their in-country expertise and continuity serve as valuable contributions to American diplomacy. In the first decade after World War II, the U.S. […]

Captivating Times in India—What it Means to Travel Across the World as a Foreign Service Officer

Upon joining the Foreign Service, most officers are immediately assigned to locations all over the world. Postings can vary from serving in a democratic country where the government runs efficiently, to a country where the government is struggling to maintain power, to even an active war zone. Wherever the assignment, foreign service officers must be […]

Brass Tacks and Kashmir: India-Pakistan Military Crises in the 1980s

A crisis between India and Pakistan erupted between November 1986 and March 1987 after India launched the largest-ever military exercise in the subcontinent, called Operation Brass Tacks. The exercise took place in the desert area of Rajasthan, a few hundred miles from the Pakistani border, and included nine infantry, three mechanized, three armored and one […]

Trouble in the Mountains: The Sino-Indian War, 1962

When two powerful countries cannot agree on the location of their shared borders, there is trouble. Such was the case with China and India in October 1962. China and India had long disputed ownership of the Aksai Chin, a mountain pass that connects Tibet to China’s Xinjiang province on the western side.  On the eastern […]

Diplomacy Despite It All – Kissinger’s India Fix

Secretary of State Henry Kissinger visited India October 28, 1974 to discuss its nonalignment policy, which aimed at preserving India’s post-colonial freedom through refusal to join any coalition, including the U.S. or Soviet blocs. Relations between New Delhi and Washington were anything but cordial at this time. The 1971 refusal of Nixon and Kissinger to […]

The NPT and the Aftermath of India’s Nuclear Test — May 1974

Operation Smiling Buddha was the assigned code name for India’s first nuclear weapons explosion on May 18th, 1974. India declared that this test was simply a “peaceful nuclear explosion” or PNE, yet it was later discovered that this was actually a part of a nuclear weapons program. The sharp backlash by the international community  stemmed […]